“I’ve never needed a model for my painting; the sense of sin is my teacher.” (Carol Rama)
“The Passion According to Carol Rama”, the artist’s entire work retrospective on display at GAM (Turin’s Gallery of Modern Art) from October 12th, 2016 to February 5th, 2017. Catchy exhibition name, I have to give them that, and, the first time(s) I read about the event, definitely NOT my cup of tea. Feminism and sexuality – or, better still, the discourse of the (over)sexualized female body – have been (ab)used, from my perspective, way too many times in the last years to still make an impression.
Nevertheless, there are other remarkable aspects to this exhibit that convinced me to look forward to it and even make the time to write something:
- Carol Rama is maybe one of the most controversial and eccentric Turin-born artists in Italy – her very first exhibition here, in 1945, was shut down by the police for being too psychologically and sexually aggressive (among the preferred themes: men fucking dogs, women shitting and screwing snakes, a hairy fat man stripped down to his spats masturbating, and latrines), with many of the displayed works confiscated and thus lost forever. I repeat the year, to avoid any misunderstanding: 1945.
- This self-thought artist did all that at a time when Pier Paolo Pasolini was only at the beginning of his fulminant career (does not surprise me in the least the fact that they became close friends) and notions like madness, fetishism, ordure, abjectness, pleasure, animality and death were challenged and dealt with for the first time by modern art.
- Although well known in particular artistic circles – as she frequented the likes of Carlo Mollino, Edoardo Sanguineti, Lea Vergine, Man Ray, Pasolini and Andy Warhol – Carol Rama only received recognition for her work late in life, being awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2003; today, her art is considered essential to understanding the mutations suffered by representation during the XXth century.
- This particular retrospective of her entire work – from watercolors and drawings to rubber installations & bricolage – is part of a bigger, worldwide event, organized and co-hosted by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (MAMVP), Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (IMMA) and GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin. It was only natural for the tour to end here, in her hometown, the city she loved and lived in (alone) an entire lifetime.
N.B.: A fascinating insight into her life (which greatly influenced her work) here.
WHERE: GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Via Magenta 31, Turin
WHEN: from October 12th, 2016 to February 5th, 2017
HOW MUCH: visit included into the museum ticket: full price € 10.00, reduced fee € 8.00, free admission the first Tuesday of the month, except holidays